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Testimonial: Renter’s Insurance Covered Student’s Stolen Laundry

July 20, 2020
GradGuard's Renters Insurance covered a student's stolen laundry

In college, you may hear about a student’s bike or a laptop being stolen. But what about laundry?

Tom, a student at the University of San Diego, experienced just that. Luckily, he had GradGuard’s Renters Insurance. He shares his experience about filing a claim, and how he was able to get reimbursed for his clothes.

Insurance for the unexpected

Tom was up all night studying for midterms, when he decided to do some laundry down the hall in his dorm. 

“I had three tests the next day, and I decided, what better time to do my laundry?” Tom said. 

He said he put his laundry in the washer and dryer and then went back to studying. But when he went back to check on it a little while later, he discovered most of his clothes were gone. 

Tom had gone to check on his laundry to discover it was gone.

“There was like a trail of it on the floor,” Tom said. “So it seemed like someone had just ran in, opened the door, grabbed it all out of the dryer and had taken it.”

Filing a claim is easy

Tom had purchased GradGuard’s Renters Insurance, which is recommended by his school. He thought his policy may include coverage for his stolen clothes. He was right; about a week after the incident, he filed a claim, and soon after, received a reimbursement.

“It worked out great! Everything went pretty smoothly,” Tom said.

Protecting school essentials- even laundry

Tom is like many of the 700,000 students GradGuard has provided protection to; he purchased a policy at the beginning of the school year just in case the unexpected happened. The University of San Diego is one of GradGuard’s school partners for renters insurance, so Tom learned about the recommended policies that offer a unique student endorsement. Subscribe to GradGuard on YouTube to hear more testimonials from our members.

GradGuard’s Renters Insurance helps students protect their school essentials, like a laptop, smartphone, and other personal belongings – even laundry.  Help protect your school essentials, like your laptop, smartphone, and other personal belongings, as well as personal liability.

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Top 3 Reasons College Tuition Insurance Is a Smart Decision

July 13, 2020

When college families and their students are discussing college, the topic of money always comes up in the conversation. For good reason too! Did you know that the combination of tuition, fees, and room and board charges average between $20,000-$50,000 a year?

For many college families, the expense of a higher education is one of the largest investments they will make. Since there is so much money at stake, we suggest that college parents make a plan in case their student is forced to withdraw from school due to severe injury or illness. Of course, if you are one of the few families out there that can afford to lose your large investment, then tuition insurance may not be necessarily needed for you.

However, for most of the twenty million college students and their families, the financial loss of an entire college semester is a burden big enough to break the bank. As a result, college families are smart to consider the purchase of tuition insurance prior to the start of the school semester.

3 Reasons Tuition Insurance is a Smart Decision

  1. If you can’t afford to lose the tuition paid for a semester at school – Tuition insurance can provide up to 100% refund of your expenses in the instance that a student gets severely ill or injured and needs to completely withdraw from the university due to a covered reason.
  2. If your school does not provide a 100% refund – Do you know what your school’s refund policy is? A majority of school refund policies do not extend beyond the fifth week of the semester, and many don’t refund the full cost after the first week of classes. Be sure to check with your school to see what their refund policy is so you can see how much of your money is at risk.
  3. If you have additional academic expenses – Even if the school does provide you with a 100% refund for tuition, most schools do not refund academic fees or student housing. Many tuition insurance plans can provide coverage for academic fees and student housing in addition to tuition.

Student health incidents like illnesses, accidents, and mental health conditions happen frequently, even to young and healthy college students. The good news is that college families can protect their investment by purchasing tuition insurance! Visit our website at www.gradguard.com/tuition to see the plans available on your campus!

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Students Remain Vulnerable to Losses from Campus Fires & Crime

August 20, 2019

Growth in campus fires and crimes confirm the value of renters insurance for college students.

More than 3 million college students are preparing to move into on-campus student housing and dorms.  While living on campus is proven to help promote greater college completion, students are often living independently for the first time and are vulnerable to unique risks. 

According to an analysis of nearly a decade of Clery Act reports on Campus Safety of more than 6,000 colleges and universities, annually there are more than 37,000 crime and safety incidents on college campuses. Further, there are 1,726 fires reported within on-campus student housing.

With so much money at stake, John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, “suggests that college students and families make-aplan in case your student’s property is damaged by a fire or water damage or if they are found responsible for unintentional damages they may cause.”

The Top 3 Reasons GradGuard’s Renters Insurance is a Smart Decision for College Students:

  1. If you can’t afford to replace your backpack, bicycle or computer. – Renters insurance can replace your stolen or damaged property.  Renters insurance can cover those costs and help you get back to classes, without the added stress of a financial loss.
  2. If your school does not replace stolen or damaged property. – In a 2017 survey of student housing leaders, 98% of schools report that they do not replace stolen or damaged student property. Be sure to check with your school to see what their policy is and how much money is at risk. 
  3. If you can’t afford to pay for damages you cause. True renters insurance includes personal liability protection and can help pay for unintentional damages when a student cannot.

GradGuard’s renters insurance policy is designed for college students living either on or off-campus.    GradGuard’s renters insurance contains an exclusive student endorsement that provides affordable coverage ideal for college life and provides both personal property and liability protection:

  • Worldwide property coverage (for study abroad or mid-term trips);
  • Aa low-deductible starting at $100;
  • Replacement cost coverage. 

According to Fees, ‘For about 50-cents a day, students can protect their students’ belongings against losses, making renters insurance a must-have consideration for college families. In fact, 84% of state insurance commissioners recommend students obtain renters insurance. Whether you are living on or off-campus,  college students and their families are smart to consider purchasing renters insurance before the start of school.”

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5 Safety Apps Every College Student Should Know About

May 14, 2019

The college years are some of the most exciting years in a person’s life. They’re all about exploring interests, experiencing life, and learning from mistakes. As fun as college can be, there’s also a great deal of responsibility that comes with being on your own for the first time. One of the most important aspects of this responsibility is ensuring your personal safety.

As a college student, you’re likely to face a unique set of dangers being on a campus setting. Whether it’s theft, assault, drugs/alcohol, or cybersecurity threats, they will all present themselves in different ways. It’s likely that you’ll encounter one or more of these issues, but it’s how you handle the situation that will help you emerge from it safely. Being both educated and prepared are some of the best ways to stay safe. Thankfully, there have been significant advancements made in technology that have been developed to help protect today’s college students.

Whether you’re going off to college for the first time or already have a few years under your belt, you’ll want to check out these five safety apps that every college student should be aware of.

Circle of 6

This app is the perfect way for college students to feel safe when walking home at night. Just simply download the app and set up your “circle” which is essentially your six emergency contacts who will be notified in an emergency. If you are in any form of danger, you can tap the icons inside the app twice and your circle will be sent a notification alerting them to the situation. Based on the icon you chose the app will send one of three texts to the circle:

  • GPS icon: “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely.”
  • Phone icon: “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.”
  • Chat icon: “I need to talk.”

Rave Guardian

This app has been backed by many universities who have instilled this app on their own campuses. By sending out a simple message or anonymous tip you can be connected to your local university police station who will assist you with your situation. The app also has a feature to virtually assist you on your walk home. Simply notify the app when you leave and where you’re going, if you don’t notify them of your arrival after a set time period, the app will send someone to check on you.

Norton Secure VPN

Cybersecurity threats have become a growing concern for college campuses over the last decade. Between viruses, breaches, and phishing scams there can be a lot to protect your devices against. Having a virtual private network on your mobile devices can help safeguard your devices by encrypting your connection, making you invisible to outside cybercriminals. This can be invaluable in keeping your personally identifiable information from ending up in the wrong hands, or worse, becoming a victim of identity theft.

KiteString

While this application is more of a text-based service, it’s been praised as highly as other competing apps. The simplicity of this program is that you can text them when you’re going to be walking alone or in an uncomfortable situation with the amount of time that you’d like them to check in on you after. They’ll send you a check in text and you just simply reply that all is alright. If you don’t respond after that time, KiteString will send your emergency contacts a notification.

Revolar

As is true in most emergency situations, you don’t always have the time to open an app and respond immediately. Revolar’s app is connected through a wearable device that you can attach to a backpack or purse. Its simplicity makes it easy to press in a panic to have help sent to your location immediately. You can customize your alerts, messages, and contacts easily through the mobile app keeping the device seamlessly connected.

Be sure you stay safe out there with these apps from GradGuard and be sure to follow us on social media for more!

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Online Dating in College

February 26, 2019

So here’s the thing. Dating in college is fun and all, but it can also be an absolute pain. You’re usually on a completely different page than the person you’re interested in, and sometimes a totally different book. Let’s face it, that person you met at the frat party last week is probably not texting you back any time soon, so let’s try something else. Online dating? It’s actually a really common thing now and makes things a lot easier; you can see what the other person is interested in via their profile, and what they are looking for. Simple right? Wrong. Here are some tips you can follow to remain safe and get the most out of online dating in college.

Do Your Research

You know what I mean. Put those FBI Facebook creeping skills to use and find the person you’re talking to on social media. Be sure that everything checks out. Make sure that they have friends, a solid following on Instagram, and add them on Snapchat. Snapchat is going to be your go-to window for seeing if the person you met through your dating app of choice is who they say they are. Talk to them on the phone too. Someone’s voice says a lot about them, so it’s always a good idea to sneak in a few phone calls before meeting. If these things don’t line up, then move on to the next one. Date smart and don’t set yourself up for a Catfish situation.

Meet Up in a Public Place

You really can’t be too careful when meeting up with someone that you met on the internet. Once you’ve been chatting with them for a while, done the Snapchatting, meet up with them at the campus coffee shop, ask them to grab lunch in a dining hall, or make a study date in the library. Don’t ask them to come over to your dorm room or apartment or go to theirs where no one else is at. Publicity is key!

Keep Your Friends Informed

If you’re making the step to meet up with someone that you met online, just keep at least 1 of your friends in the loop. Let them know that you are meeting up with a new person and tell them where you will be. It also isn’t a bad idea if you decide to have them on standby if you need an out. Give them a code word that you can text them if you are not having a good time, getting a bad vibe, etc. That way your friend can give you a call with an excuse for you to leave. Remember, you don’t need a solid reason to leave if you are uncomfortable.

Date Around, But Also Be Selective

The great thing about “dating” is that you are not really committed to one person. Don’t worry, they probably aren’t committed to you right away either. Really just take some time to play the field, but play it well. You’ll likely have a lot of options, but be sure that you are selective with your suitors. Don’t feel pressured to meet up with someone just because you’ve been talking to them. If you aren’t ready to or don’t want to, then don’t. Just don’t be mean and ghost someone. Be honest about how you feel and offer an alternative if you are feeling up to it. At the same time, be sure you put yourself out there enough for the new experiences. It can be a little daunting at first, but it gets easier as time goes on.

Have Fun!

You’re young and this is your chance to have the time of your life! Meet new people, even if it isn’t for the sake of dating them, plenty of friendships develop from online dating apps as well. Sometimes you meet someone who you don’t click with romantically, but still have fun with. So instead of going on dates, you just get together to drink coffee and play League of Legends. Like I said, strive for the new experiences and the fresh faces! If you meet someone you want to keep around for a while, that is an added bonus.

Online dating is fun while you are in college, just be sure that you do it wisely with these tips from GradGuard as you go forth with your suitors. Do your research, be open minded, keep your friends informed, and meet everyone in a public place first. Stay safe and have a good time!

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10 Crucial Campus Safety Tips

September 24, 2018

The yearly return to college each fall is an exciting and significant time for students, but it isn’t entirely without risks. This year, as classes beckon you back to campus, consider what you can do to ensure your own safety as well as that of others. September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month! Here’s a quick list to help you promote safety throughout your time at school.

Walk With Purpose

It’s no secret that anyone who appears to be new in town or otherwise unsure of themselves makes an easy target. Don’t be one of those people! Wherever you go, whether on campus or around town, be sure to walk with confidence and a purpose. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, and don’t be afraid to excuse yourself from any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. Go with your gut: when it comes to your personal safety, you are your own greatest ally.

 

Be the Leader of the Pack

It’s an immutable law of nature: there’s safety in numbers. Traveling with friends is one of the best ways to keep yourself protected, particularly if you’re a young woman who may be at greater risk. This is of critical importance when attending social events or traveling in unlit areas. Whether on or off campus, attend events as part of a group and make a pact to look out for one another. Most importantly, never leave someone alone in a vulnerable or uncomfortable situation. If necessary, leave as a group and make other plans instead.

Be Social Media Savvy

Today our digital personas are just as real as our offline lives, and what happens on the Internet doesn’t necessarily stay there. So in the interest of safety, it’s best to keep the personal details to a minimum. First and foremost, be sure to disable location services so that no one can track your whereabouts as you post. Next, think twice before making any posts that include “sensitive” information. Over 80 percent of Internet-initiated crimes – crimes in which the criminal first identifies or tracks a target online – begin through social media, making your profiles excellent resources for any would-be criminals to find your location, daily routines and nearly anything else they might want to know.

“I’ll Be Back”

Whenever you venture out and about, make sure that someone knows where you’re going and when you expect to be back. It only takes a few moments to text friends or family members and inform them of your plans, and if something should ever go wrong, you’ll be glad that you did. If you don’t show up when and where you’re expected, having someone who can check in on you can make all the difference.

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Better Safe Than Sorry!

August 24, 2018

Now that you’re all on your own in college, without any adult supervision from your parents, it’s best to take whatever steps necessary to stay safe and protect yourself from dangerous situations that could occur at any time of the day. One key thing to remember is that there is no such thing as being too cautious, especially when you’re by yourself.  Below are a few tips and suggestions on what you can do to stay safe around campus.

Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Especially at night. Whether you’re just walking to your car or going for a quick run to the convenience store next door, make sure to look around you and look out for any suspicious individuals or activities that might be lurking around your neighborhood. For many, it is a common thing to have on headphones and listen to music while you’re out and about, however, when you are by yourself, this could put you in a very vulnerable and risky situation. Music can be distracting and can also drown out noises around you, therefore it makes it easier for the bad guys to approach you. Music is good for the soul, but let’s save it for when you’re at a pool party or when you have safely arrived in your car and locked it.

Carry a safety kit.

This doesn’t have to be anything bulky or wildly noticeable. With so many cases of assault and kidnapping nowadays, even in broad daylight, it is smart to carry a personal safety kit with you everywhere you go. The most popular protection item for college students and young adults to carry is pepper spray as it is very affordable and accessible. Another item that’s not very commonly used but is extremely helpful is a personal alarm, which can be used in emergency situations to scare off an attacker and alert assistance. Sabre is a brand of security equipment that offers personal safety kits that include both a pepper spray and a personal alarm which can be easily attached to your keychain. This is a great product to keep in mind when stocking a personal safety kit.

Know how to put out a grease fire.

You’d be surprised how many cases of cooking-related fire incidents occur each year, especially among college students. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking is the number one cause that can lead to home fires. The most obvious and important factor in not having grease fires is to take the necessary steps to prevent them. However, in the case that you have already started one, you can refer to the list below for the basic tips on how to extinguish the fire:

  1. DO NOT use water to put out the fire.
  2. Locate the heat source and turn it off.
  3. Try covering the pan/pot with a baking sheet or any metal lids until it has cooled down.
  4. If the fire is small, you can douse it with baking soda or salt.
  5. If the fire is on a larger scale and not manageable, use a fire extinguisher.

Purchase renters insurance.

As reported by the Clery Act, there is an average of 22,463 annual burglaries reported on college campuses and 2,070 annual fires reported in on-campus student housing (data is from 2017-2018). For unpredictable and unfortunate incidents like these, it is highly recommended that students protect themselves and their personal belongings by looking into purchasing renters insurance. GradGuard offers low deductibles and worldwide property coverage for students at an affordable price. This is in the event that their laptops, bikes, or backpacks get stolen. This applies even if they are just around campus or vacationing outside of the country. To get more information, click here.

With all that said, let’s hope that you don’t run into any unfortunate mishaps. Have fun being a college student, but always do your best to make sure that you are safe no matter where you go!

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What To Do If Your Laptop is Stolen at College

August 23, 2018
What to Do If Your Laptop is Stolen

So you were at the library and got up for a minute. Maybe you left your dorm room door open while running to the bathroom. Maybe you went to check on something while you were doing work in the lounge. Maybe your apartment was broken into. Whatever the reason, the laptop you once had is now gone. What do you do?

Having your laptop stolen is the worst. Though it may make you want to curl up in a ball and sleep forever, that’s likely not an option mid-semester when you’ve got papers to write and tests to study for. Instead, follow these tips to regain your sanity and replace your laptop.

File a Police Report

If you’re on-campus, contact campus police to file a report. If you’re off-campus, contact your city or town’s police department to file a report with them. This is important because if your laptop is found, it can be returned, and if you’re filing an insurance claim, you’ll need to have filed a police report first.

Change Your Passwords

If you know you have saved passwords on your laptop or are auto-logged into sensitive or personal accounts, like your email, Facebook, or bank accounts, get to a computer to change them right away.

Consider Identity Theft Protection

If you’ve stored sensitive information on your laptop, like your credit card numbers and passwords, you may want to consider purchasing Identity Theft Protection to help alert you if someone uses your information to commit fraud. Identity Theft Protection is often offered for a low monthly rate and can provide assistance in resolving any incidents and can also offer insurance for lost funds.

Check on Coverage

Do you have a renters insurance policy? If you do, consult your policy to look for a couple things. First, check if there is any limit on electronics coverage and make sure that your laptop doesn’t exceed that amount. Next, check to see what kind of replacement your policy provides. Then, check for your deductible. This will be the amount that you’ll have to pay out of pocket to replace your laptop, your insurance will cover the rest.

After you’ve got all this info, you’ll need to file a claim with the insurance company to replace the laptop. Check your policy docs for information on where to send your claims info. According to the Internet (Mint.com), it’ll take about a week or two for the money to come through or your laptop to be replaced. If you purchase Renters Insurance from GradGuard, our underwriter, Markel, will be in touch within 24 hours.

If you don’t have Renters Insurance, talk to your parents about whether you might be covered under their Homeowners Insurance. If you are, and the deductible is lower than the cost to replace the laptop (homeowners’ deductibles tend to fall around $500-$1,000), it could make sense to file a claim under their Homeowners Insurance. Keep in mind that filing a claim on their insurance may raise their premium, so it may make sense to just replace it out of pocket, especially if they have a high deductible.

Hopefully, you have some coverage, if not, you’ll have to figure out how to replace your laptop on your own. In the meantime, look into your options around campus – there may be computer labs you can use until you are able to get a replacement. Otherwise, be sure you back up your documents and get a college renters insurance policy!

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The Case for Tuition Insurance

August 17, 2018

The most gratifying experience as a founder of a business is to hear directly from customers who benefit from a product you have helped to create. Indeed, as our GradGuard tuition insurance customer says in this brief testimonial video and statement.

“Tuition Insurance was such a lifesaver. It should be an option on every college and university website.” – Mindy D., parent of a college student daughter who used GradGuard’s tuition insurance from Allianz.

Bill Suneson and I co-founded GradGuard 10 years ago with the mission to help protect the investment students and families make in higher education. Thanks to GradGuard’s collaboration with Allianz Global Assistance – it is now easier than ever before for college students and their families to receive valuable protection for the investment they make in higher education.

If you have a student in college, you need to be sure you know what the refund policy is and ask the school if they provide tuition insurance. Though today only about 300 colleges and universities offer tuition insurance, most school leaders surveyed agree that it should be as convenient for families to protect a $30,000 or more investment in college as it is for consumers to protect a $300 vacation with travel insurance.

For good reason, according to the College Board’s 2019 Trends in College Pricing – the average published prices in 2019-20 including room and board are $38,330 for public institutions and $46,870 for private non-profit institutions.

According to the 2018 Allianz Tuition Insurance College Confidence Index, parents are growing more concerned about their child’s ability to finish college without needing to withdraw, though students’ level of confidence in finishing held steady. However, both still see significant financial implications of an early college withdrawal, estimating a loss of about $10,000. What is equally concerning is that the 2018 Index indicates 73% of parents are unaware of the refund policy of their college or university.

With so much money at stake, it is smart for college families to make a plan in case their student is forced to withdraw from school due to a bad bout of mono, mental illness or injury. The Fall 2019 study by the American College Health Association, demonstrates the impact of student health issues on academics. Below is a partial list of the conditions that students report impact their academic performance, defined as: received a lower grade on an exam, or an important project; received a lower grade in the course; received an incomplete or dropped the course; or experienced a significant disruption in thesis, dissertation, research, or practicum work;

• Depression: 23 %
• Cold/Flu/Sore throat: 16 %
• Death of a friend or family member: 9 %
• Bronchitis/Strep throat: 2.3 %
• Chronic health problem or serious illness: 22.8 %
• Alcohol use: 2.2 %
• Injury: 2.7 %
• Drug use: 1.7 %

This is where tuition insurance can be particularly valuable to a family or student that finds one of these conditions to be serious enough to force them to withdraw from college. Though it may seem a bit like an advertisement, here are some conclusions for why tuition insurance is a smart decision.

  1. If you can’t afford to lose the investment you are making in your semester of school – Tuition insurance can provide up to 100% refund for your expenses if a student gets sick, injured or is forced to leave school for a covered reason. Tuition insurance can cover those costs and help you get back on your feet in the event of a withdrawal, without the added stress of a financial loss.
  2. If your school does not provide a 100% refund – Do you know what your school’s refund policy is? A majority of school refund policies do not extend beyond the fifth week of the semester, and many don’t refund the full cost of tuition after the start of classes. Be sure to check with your school to see what their policy is and how much money is at risk.
  3. If you have additional academic expenses – Even if the school provides a 100% refund for tuition, most schools do not refund academic fees or student housing. Many tuition insurance plans provide coverage for not only tuition but also for expenses related to academic fees and student housing.

Tuition insurance is available through GradGuard and more than a hundred school-specific programs. Remember, tuition insurance must be purchased prior to the start of school and, like all insurance plans, be sure to check the specific terms, conditions, and exclusions of your policy.

This article was updated in July 2020

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Growth In Campus Fires & Crimes Confirm The Value Of Renters Insurance For College Students

July 25, 2018

According to Clery Act reports, in 2017-2018, the number of fires that occurred in on-campus student housing facilities was down 12.3% from 1,938 to 1,726 fires. In addition to fires, the number of reported criminal offenses decreased by around 1% from 38,000 to 37,573. The data for criminal offenses is based on reports from nearly 6,000 institutions and the data for fires is based on reports from 686 institutions and 701 campuses.

According to Bob Soza, President of College Parents of America, “We recommend families consider renters insurance because college students and their parents are often caught unprepared, and these unexpected incidents can also disrupt a students’ education.”

In fact, a majority of state insurance commissioners recommend college students consider renters insurance.

With so much money at stake, John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, suggests that “college parents make a plan in case their student is a victim of theft, their property is damaged by a fire or water damage or if they are found responsible for damages they may cause.”

The Top 3 Reasons Renters Insurance is a Smart Decision for College Students:

1. If you can’t afford to replace your backpack, bicycle or computerRenters insurance can replace your stolen or damaged property. Renters insurance can cover those costs and help you get back to classes, without the added stress of a financial loss.

2. If your school does not replace stolen or damaged property – In a 2017 survey of student housing leaders, 98% of schools report that they do not replace stolen or damaged student property. Be sure to check with your school to see what their policy is and how much money is at risk.

3. If you can’t afford to pay for damages you cause – True renter’s insurance includes personal liability protection and can help pay for unintentional damages when a student cannot.

Fees added, “college students and their families are smart to consider purchasing renter’s insurance before the start of school. For about $12.00 a month, students can secure protection against financial losses making renters insurance a must have consideration for college families.”